Since it began back in 1977, #StarWars has made history in everything from box office sales to groundbreaking storytelling. A New Hope helped establish a new bar in terms of what literary experts call "The Hero's Journey." Meanwhile, The Force Awakens turned out as the highest-grossing movie of 2015. Whether you like it or not, Star Wars has been making history since the beginning, and will continue to make history until they quit making Star Wars movies.
Now, even though it makes history, Star Wars isn't shy to borrow from history as well. In fact, one of the franchise's biggest moments is borrowed from one of history's biggest moments — the rise of the Empire. It is the turning point in the entire Star Wars story, when the Dark Side gains the upper hand over the Jedi. It is a very emotional moment, especially when you know what it is leading up to. Even bigger than that, it mimics one of the worst times in human history.
In the prequel trilogy, the whole buildup leads to Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader. Before that however, there is the rise of the Empire, where Darth Sidious poses as Senator Palpatine, becomes Chancellor, voted Supreme Chancellor, and eventually becomes Emperor. His entire rise to power came thanks to the support of the people. Without them, he would have never been voted in as Chancellor in the first place.
Now to the point where this was borrowed from in history. There has (as of now) only been one man with a story similar to that of the Emperor, and that man was Adolf Hitler.
If you are sitting there confused, let me explain. Much like the Emperor, Hitler started off with humble beginnings. He was imprisoned for a failed coup in 1923. While in prison, he started to get noticed with the book he wrote, Mein Kampf. Once he was released, he started to gain more popularity. In 1933, he was elected as Chancellor of the German Republic, which he turned into the Nazi party once he had the power to do so. Starting to sound familiar yet? It should, because that is the exact same way that Palpatine came into power.
Palpatine had a failed coup on the planet of Naboo, where he was secretly in league with the Trade Federation. Even though he was not jailed for it (since no one knew that he was at the helm of it all), Palpatine's popularity grew. This led to his power growing as well, with him being elected from Senator to Chancellor.
Once he became Chancellor, and the Clone War began, Palpatine had everyone convinced that emergency actions needed to be taken, giving him complete power over the entire Galactic Senate, becoming Supreme Chancellor. Similarly, Hitler was used the events of World War I and the Great Depression in the United States to further bolster his own agenda.
To top it all off, there was the fight to extinguish a group of religious people. Hitler was obsessed with eradicating the entire world of those who were Jewish, a goal of his even before he came into power. This eventually led to the Holocaust, which even today is considered one of the worst moments in all of history, killing approximately six million Jews.
Similarly, as soon as he took over as Emperor, Palpatine made it his mission to wipe out the entire Jedi Order. Like Hitler, it was a plan that he had since the very beginning. There is a reason why the movie is called Revenge of the Sith — it is all about the final plan of the Sith eliminating the Jedi because of their different beliefs.
Many stories, whether from a book or a movie, are known for borrowing pieces of history when it comes to telling their own; Star Wars is no different. By using one of the worst moments in human history to help tell its story, it gives the story a downfall that our heroes can climb back up from, giving both them and us a sense of hope.
Even #GeorgeLucas himself has confirmed that themes used in Star Wars were inspired by historical events like Nazi Germany, such as the Stormtroopers, and how that was what Nazi Soldiers were known to be called. So, while history will remain with us for as long as we live, sometimes they will come back as different stories, just with the same ideas.
What do you think? Do you think the rise of the Empire was inspired by Nazi Germany? Are there any other moments from big movies that share similar themes and ideas with historical moments? Let me know your thoughts down below.